The recent abusive border search of a Canadian photojournalist should serve as a warning to everyone concerned about press freedom these days.
Big brother in full bloom
My God Hugh - where have you been ?
It is no surprise to me, and no surprise to anyone with both feet on the ground.
My brother, riding on Greyhound, was once stopped and questioned at the US border station because after riffling through his bag, they fond a copy of a book whose topic was socialism (forgot the title - I think it was Lenin's "Imperialism - the Highest Stage of Capitalism") with a bookmark with "who would Jesus Bomb" on it. His partner on a separate trip down to Pittsburgh to submit his doctoral dissertation in sociology, was also questioned because, apparently they found the topic of his studies to be "un American" too.
As a US citizen, entering Canada is a breeze and the border agents are always pleasant - but going back into the US is always a nerve wracking experience. The US border agents (unlike Canada, always thuggish white males) are never pleasant individuals.
Really? My husband travels from Canada for his work, and has encountered his share of surly Canadian border agents. Ever since they changed to the paramilitary outfits their attitude went downhill
Not quite the same, but close
I've found a mix of unpleasantness on both sides of the border, but my experience of the US side coming back in to be consistent with yours. Just this last summer after dropping off my Mother in-law for a religious retreat in Niagara Falls, the US border guard asked me several questions about my family who wasn't traveling with me that made me a bit uncomfortable. For a border guard with only my passport information, he seemed to know quite a lot about me.
Amy Goodman certainly did NOT find Canadian Customs pleasant when she was denied entry. After the corporations purchased the US Congress and realized fantastic return on investment, they started buying up governments around the globe including Canada's..
As bad a TPP (and other regulatory capture disguised as trade deals) will be for Yankees, Canadians have much more to lose. like single payer medical and negotiated drug prices.
Under the Great progressive Obama ' Clinton/ Kerry
Although Canada may be better than the U.S., I remember, years ago, as a woman camping alone, i had pepper spray. They pulled me out of the car line and interrogated me for a while, took away my pepper spray and generally treated me poorly. I did have a fancy multi-colored beret on--perhaps that was the dead giveaway of my subversive tendencies.
re: Canadian vs. US border controls:
i'm banned from Canada for "malicious mischief" which is actually my history of nonviolent civil disobedience inside the USA.
i do have the option to try to demonstrate to Canada that i have "rehabilitated" myself. Canada can go to hell.
According to the Firearms Act of 1995 pepper spray is prohibited and illegal within Canada. Any device or substance such as pepper spray or mace that is designed to be used for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating a person is prohibited according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
Though they both contain the same active ingredient — oleoresin capsicum, bear spray contains a much lower concentration. A typical pepper spray used for self defense will have an oleoresin capsicum (OC) concentration of about 10% or higher.
Bear Spray vs Pepper Spray: What's the Difference? - Self Defense Ninja
A darker trend?
It seems that it actually will boil down to the Populace necessarily coalescing around a common sense of "Who are the Citizens?" and "Who, exactly, are the people that We the People hired to be in our Government, and what the hell do they think they have a right to do to us, at this point?"
After eight years, I don't know why anyone is surprised that Obama suppresses and harasses journalists and activists trying to enter the U. S. or engage in activities here. He was never the great civil liberties hope that the left projected on him. This is the guy who greatly expanded and normalized drone assassinations and the criminal pursuit of investigative journalists, and whistle-blowers. He is no hero for democracy.
Perhaps having some aerosol automotive chemicals in your car may be ignored by the Gestapo if transiting across the border. I needed some glass rain repellent when I was traveling over the holiday. I picked up a spray bottle of the stuff and applied it in a windy area. Just a small aerosol drop of the spray managed to get in my eye where it was well noticed as not good if more had hit me. I'd think using this for emergency protection on the road would be better than nothing, and it would save getting harassed from having any dedicated protective sprays if searched.
The US can search anyone and anything it wishes to when such is presented at a border crossing. Whether or not you get selected for a difficult process depends on whether or not you you are in the government's good books or bad, and that designation changes constantly, as the US government decides on a whim! The best thing anyone can do is simply not to seek entrance to the US. There are definitely thousands of other countries in the World, much better to visit and to work in, besides the American homeland and its conquered overseas' possessions..
Let's not forget the intrusive interrogation Amy Goodman was subjected to at the Canadian border in 2009.
Since Departments of Customs and Immigration became Department of Border Protection they seem to have trained their staff to be unnecessarily rude, unpleasant and certainly aggressive. I thought armies, navies and air-forces were there for "border protection", not customs and immigration officers.
Not full yet, but definitely on the way... http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45935.htm
I've a feeling we are entering a new normal. This new normal will be characterized by what happened to this reporter and by reporters being detained and interrogated at airports (probably with missing tamper tape on their phones). It will be characterized by the corporate mass media decrying political web sites and publications - left and right - as "fake news" when they fall too far outside the Washington consensus, and by college professors being publicly outed as too far left or right. And so on.
We may have just entered the next phase of McCarthyite repression. I am not blaming Trump. I am blaming an oligarchic structure with a neoliberal neocon agenda -- embraced by most Republicans and many Democrats -- which will use the power of government and the power of mass media to achieve their aims and to get any opposition out of the way.